What is a Résumé?

What is a Résumé?

The Macquarie Dictionary definition:

Résumé – A summing up a summary –

What is the main purpose of the resume or CV?

Essentially it is a sales tool for applicants to put forward their strongest case as to why they are the best for the position.

You are competing against many others applicants so first impressions count. Your resume and covering application letter has to stand out because it not only creates the first impression, but tells them how well you fit their job.

A résumé is a concise account of your experience, education, interests and job-related skills. This information helps an employer to determine if you meet the requirements for the job, and/or what you have to offer.

You have 30 seconds to impress either the recruiter or the employer!

So what do Employers want???

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you are the hiring Manager of the your dream company who has to fill a Graduate position.

How would you go about selecting the right person?

As an Employer you would need to:

– Identify what is required for the position
– Write an advertisement to fit this requirement
– Write a job description and a person specification
– Shortlist and interview
– Ensure person selected fits the requirements specified
– When writing your résumé and particularly your application letter put yourself in the shoes of the employer and always ensure that you address the requirements.

If you lack exact experience or it is your first job, a potential employer may well be swayed by a show of enthusiasm, high values, flexibility and self-motivation to give you a fair go. Skills are much easier to teach than attitudes.

When an Employer is reading a resume and covering letter they generally look for proof that applicant has:

– Intelligence
– Motivation
– Other interests
– Stability
– Adaptability
– Dependency
– Appropriate attitudes and values
– Leadership potential
– Decision making ability
– Organisational skills
– Effective communication skills

And most importantly, a proven track record of achievements!

Later, at the interview stage they try to confirm this before making their final choice. Try to keep these elements in mind when writing both your resume and your covering letter.

The major factor that applicants leave of their resumes, which can distinguish them from other applicants, is their achievements.

Never! Never! Never leave achievements off your resume!

If you have written proof of your achievements so much the better. For example:

I won the “Employee of the Month” Award for the past three months
Outstanding Academic results – Semester 1 and 2
Organised our Annual Charity event and raised 200k
Brisbane Grammar School ‘Certificate of Merit’ (2001, 2002)
Dean’s List Award
Netball Finalists 2002
I have a 6.208 GPA
Developed a company newsletter including writing, editing, and graphic design

Know your Referees well….

Ensure that you remain in regular contact with your referees. I have stayed in contact with one of my referees for over 15 years. He is now a great friend and a client. I would strongly suggest that you call your referees and explain what roles you have applied for so they are not surprised when a recruiter or employer rings up to ask questions about you.

Recently, a candidate put a Marketing Managers name down as a referee without the courtesy of asking them. Though there were no performance issues the Marketing Manager was a little surprised and annoyed that the candidate had not asked permission.

Referees are extremely important people in your job hunt so please treat them with the respect they deserve and do not take anything for granted.

Resume Formats

There are two main formats for resumes; functional format and chronological format.

The functional format lists skills and experience under particular categories or headings without specifying when or where these are obtained. Employers and dates of employment are not listed. Personal information need not be included at all. The Functional format highlights what you are capable of doing. For example, when returning to the workforce after a long break, lack qualifications or obvious experience, wanting to emphasise the skills and experience you have, and are concerned that your age may be a barrier.

The chronological format is where you list employers and experience gained in date order. It is the most common and usually used when you have had a few jobs at a similar level or you want to show progression in a certain field. It is the one I prefer and recommend. An example of a resume with a chronological is attached.

Resumes for every occasion!

If you are multi-skilled, as most of us have to be these days, it gives you the opportunity to write your resume and application letter to emphasis how you match the criteria and requirements of a specific job advertisement. For example, in one of my roles I was Operations Manager but I also had the duties of a Human Resource Manager, a Training Manager, a Payroll Manager, and Accounts Payable Manager. If I tried to put down everything in a resume I had done and achieved in that role it would more than twenty pages. So I have a different resume that covers each area depending on what sort of role I am applying for. No, it is not lying provided; you in fact have done, what you have said you have done.

Try to keep your resumes to four pages and no longer than eight pages.

Be Prepared! Always Keep your Resume Updated!

Regardless of your current position and how long you have been in it I would recommend that you continually update your resume.

Firstly, it is a great way to track your achievements so when it comes to performance or salary review time you have the information and proof to support your pay claim.

Secondly, in this day and age there is no such thing as job security. You can be retrenched in an instance. Having your resume ready to go is not a sign of disloyalty it is simply being prepared in uncertain times. People often say how tough it is to go into business for myself but my view is it is much tougher being a permanent employee relying on job to always be there.


Unless you are asked for a photo to be included with your application and it is relevant to the position you are applying for, I do not see why you would put a photo in. A photo may give the recruiter or employer a positive or negative perspective of who you are before they even look at your skill set.